Matchup Roundup: New UFC and Bellator fights announced in the past week (Nov.4-Nov. 10)

MMA fight announcements are hard to follow. With so many outlets and channels for news to break through, it’s nearly impossible to organize.

But here at MMA Junkie, we’ve got your back.

Each week, we’ll compile all the newly surfaced fights in one spot. Every Monday, expect a feature listing everything you might have missed from the UFC and Bellator.

Here are the fight announcements that were broken or confirmed by MMA Junkie from Nov. 4–Nov. 10:

UFC on ESPN+ 22: Nov. 16, Sao Paulo

Women’s flyweight: With Priscila Cachoeira out, Veronica Macedo (6-3-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) steps in to fight Ariane Lipski (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) (MMA Fighting)

UFC on ESPN 7: Dec. 7, Washington, D.C.

Heavyweight: With Walt Harris out, Jairzinho Rozenstruik (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) steps in to fight Alistair Overeem (45-17 MMA, 11-6 UFC) (ESPN)

Middleweight: With Alonzo Menifield out, Makhmud Muradov (23-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC) steps in to fight Trevor Smith (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC)

Bellator Salute: Dec. 20, Honolulu

Heavyweight: Josh Barnett (35-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Ronny Markes (19-7 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)

Bantamweight: Erik Perez (19-6 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) vs. Toby Misech (11-7 MMA, 1-1 BMMA)(KHON2)

More matchups on next page:

Bellator 234 pre-event facts: Roger Huerta seeks first Bellator win since 2010

Bellator’s busy November continues this week with Bellator 234, which takes place Thursday at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, Israel, but won’t air until Friday on Paramount via tape-delay.

A heavyweight matchup serves as the main event of the card. Sergei Kharitonov (29-6 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) will look to inch close to getting a fight for Bellator gold, while Linton Vassell (18-8 MMA, 7-5 BMMA) looks to get his first win since moving up to the heavyweight division earlier this year.

For more on the numbers behind the headliner, as well as the rest of the card, check below for 16 pre-event facts about Bellator 234.

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Main event

Kharitonov is 11-1 (with two no contests) in his past 14 fights dating back to September 2011.

Kharitonov’s five-fight Bellator unbeaten streak at heavyweight is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Cheick Kongo (nine) and Tyrell Fortune (eight).

Kharitonov has earned 27 of his 29 career victories by stoppage. That includes all three of his Bellator wins.

Kharitonov vs. Matt Mitrione at Bellator 215 marked the third shortest no contest in Bellator/UFC/WEC/Strikeforce/PRIDE combined history at just 15 seconds. Only Marius Zaromskis vs. Waachim Spiritwolf (6 seconds) at Strikeforce Challengers 12 and Kevin Casey vs. Antonio Carlos Junior (11 seconds) at UFC Fight Night 80 were faster.

Vassell’s three-fight losing skid is the longest of his career. He hasn’t earned a victory since May 2017.

Vassell was unsuccessful in his heavyweight debut when he lost a decision to Valentin Moldavsky at Bellator 218 in March.

Vassell’s seven victories in Bellator light-heavyweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Liam McGeary (nine), Phil Davis (eight) and Emanuel Newton (eight).

Vassell’s three submission victories in Bellator light-heavyweight competition are tied with four other fighters for most in divisional history.

Co-main event

Roger Huerta (24-11-1 MMA, 1-4 BMMA) is 0-2 since he returned to Bellator for a second stint in April 2018. He hasn’t earned a victory with the promotion since April 2010.

Huerta is 4-10 in his past 14 fights dating back to August 2008.

Remaining main card

Olga Rubin (6-1 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) competes in her sixth Bellator women’s featherweight bout, the third most appearances in divisional history behind Arlene Blencowe (nine) and Julia Budd (seven).

Sinead Kavanagh (5-4 MMA, 2-4 BMMA) is 1-3 since she moved up to the Bellator women’s featherweight division.

Grachik Bozinyan (10-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is the youngest of the eight scheduled main card fighters.

Bozinyan has earned all 10 of his career victories by stoppage. He’s finished seven of those wins in Round 1.

Aviv Gozali’s (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) 11-second submission win at Bellator 225 stands as the fastest in company history.

Gozali, at 18, became the youngest fighter to earn a bellator win at Bellator 209 in November 2018.

Arlene Blencowe thinks she’s earned another title shot with win over Leslie Smith at Bellator 233

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Arlene Blencowe thinks she’s positioned herself as the No. 1 contender after this past Friday.

She defeated Leslie Smith by unanimous decision at Bellator 233, outpointing her on the strength of her jab en route to a 30-27 sweep on the judges’ scorecards.

Blencowe (13-7 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) was narrowly edged out by current 145-pound champion Julia Budd nearly two years ago at Bellator 189 for the women’s featherweight title. It was her second loss to the champ.

Since then, Blencowe has won three in a row and thinks she’s done enough to get the next title shot against the winner of Budd and Cris Cyborg, who are set to fight for Budd’s title at Bellator 236 on Jan. 25.

“Obviously, since my controversial split decision loss to Julia, I’ve just worked my way back into the next title shot,” Blencowe told MMA Junkie after her win over Smith. “I knew just getting wins is what I needed. I got two stoppage wins. I was hoping for a third win by stoppage, but we also knew that Leslie was a tough girl, so she doesn’t go down easy. But I definitely I think I’ve earned my spot to get another shot at the title.”

And while avenging her loss to Budd is definitely on her mind, a stylistic matchup against Cyborg is also something that interests her.

“To be honest, if it’s Julia, yeah, that would be awesome,” Blencowe said. “I’ve got some redemption to do there. But Cyborg’s another awesome fight. I’d love to stand in there and bang it out with her. I’ll just be sitting back in January, just excited to watch a good, quality fight, and I think both girls are going to be absolutely awesome.”

Logan Storley: Win over D-I wrestler E.J. Brooks at Bellator 233 speaks to my wrestling ability


THACKERVILLE, Okla. – Logan Storley’s win Friday at Bellator 233 was a major feather in his cap.

Storley (11-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA), a four time All-American wrestler,  took on former Division-I wrestler E.J. Brooks. He picked up a TKO win when Brooks didn’t come back out for the second round with an apparent broken arm.

Storley was able to hurt Brooks early, throwing a couple of kicks that hurt Brooks’ arm. He was then able to use his wrestling to take the fight to the mat, and after the end of Round 1, Brooks’ corner stopped the fight with Brooks unable to continue due to the injury.

The game plan for Storley was to come out aggressive and put pressure on Brooks, which he was able to do. The arm injury suffered by Brooks made it that much harder for him to get off the mat when Storley was all over him.

“I knew that first kick, I think it was the first or second kick that hurt him,” Storley told MMA Junkie after the fight. “I felt him underneath when I kept putting it on him, and forcing him to push off of it – and that was a hard, grinding pace, the first five. That’s what I wanted to do because I felt him slowly losing that energy and me just getting into more dominant positions, but it takes a while to get to that. You don’t just get to go land big shots right away. You have to wear these guys out, then you can set the pace and fight your fight.”

Storley thinks taking out an accomplished wrestler in Brooks proves how good his wrestling is.

“It took a little longer than I wanted, getting to those positions, but he’s a former Division-I wrestler,” Storley said. “He’s beat really good guys in wrestling, and that’s what people don’t understand is, that guy was a really good Division-I wrestler. So for me to go out there and dominate a former Division-I wrestler like that, I think that speaks to my wrestling ability.”

Bellator 233’s Kyle Crutchmer happy to be compared to teammates Cormier, Khabib – if he has bank account to match

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – With his strong wrestling background, Kyle Crutchmer is happy to draw comparisons to his teammates – but not necessarily to their fighting styles.

Crutchmer (5-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who was a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University, has a strong grappling background like former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier and UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, his teammates at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

Crutchmer improved to 5-0 Friday at Bellator 233 in his promotional debut with a unanimous decision win over Robert Gidron. He used his superior wrestling to control the fight and showed off some of his striking, too.

But with inevitable comparisons to his accomplished wrestling teammates at AKA, Crutchmer is more concerned with making similar paydays down the line.

“I don’t know how many people knock dudes down with spinning back fists, but I threw that (expletive) today – it landed, it knocked him down, so I’ve got a little bit different style from (them),” Crutchmer told MMA Junkie. “But listen, man, at the end of the day, if my bank account says what ‘D.C.’ and Khabib’s say – man, you can compare me to whoever you want to compare me to.”

His opponent, Gidron, stepped in on short notice for the fight. But the natural middleweight missed weight for the 170-pound bout by nearly five pounds. While Crutchmer is accustomed to being the smaller opponent, he says Gidron had an apparent size difference, a challenge he was able to overcome.

“My wrestling kind of speaks for itself,” Crutchmer said. “I think I would be dumb to not at least attempt it in the first, to see how hard or how easy it would be. Man, that guy was big. People don’t realize – he missed weight by five pounds. He’s never fought at (1)70, I don’t think, so he had some height on me, too. So some of those things, I was trying to get to. It took a lot more than people could see.”

And there was no doubt in his mind that he was going to accept the fight regardless, as he looks to begin his ascent in the Bellator 170-pound rankings.

“I’m in this to prove I’m the baddest mother(expletive) in the world, and if I’m turning down fights or I’m saying no to somebody, then why am I doing this?” Crutchmer said. “I knew it was going to be hard. You could see it, how big he was, and that does play a factor in fights. I had no hesitation. I told our coaches, ‘I’ll get paid a little bit more and we’ll roll with it.’”

Bellator 233 reactions: Winning and losing fighters on social media

Since the early days when the sport was anything but a mainstream endeavor, the MMA industry has thrived and survived through various websites, forums and, perhaps most importantly, social-media platforms.

Fighters interact with fans, each other and many more through the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which helps outsiders get a deeper look into the minds of the athletes.

Following Friday’s Bellator 233 event in Thackerville, Okla., several of the winning and losing fighters, along with their coaches, training partners or family members, took to social media to react to the event or share a message with supporters.

Check out some of those reactions.

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The defeated

1

Bellator 233’s Tyrell Fortune says Jake Hager ‘out of my league,’ but would love to welcome Tyson Fury to MMA

THACKERVILLE, Okla. – After Tyrell Fortune’s second-round TKO finish of Azunna Anyanwu, his coach wanted him to call out former WWE star Jake Hager again. But he has his sights set on another potential cross-codes fight.

Backstage after his win at Bellator 233 this past Friday, Fortune (8-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA) laughed about the difference of opinion.

“Coach wants me to talk some (expletive) on Swagger still,” Fortune told MMA Junkie. “But I’m like, ‘Dude, he’s out of my league. He’s not even close.’

“Tyson Fury’s better than (expletive) Swagger. At least that’s some competition. Swagger ain’t got (expletive). He still ain’t punching people. He’s still trying to take them down.”

That’s not to say that Fortune won’t take the Hager fight if offered, mind you. He’d take it in a heartbeat.

“I’d beat his ass for fun,” he said. “It’d be an easy check, of course.”

Fortune was in an understandably good mood after his performance against Anyanwu (15-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA). He stayed patient throughout a largely uneventful first round as he studied his opponent before exploding on him in the second round for a clinical, impressive TKO finish.

“I wasn’t in a rush,” he said. “I knew second round, I would go for the knockout. I was just getting the timing and feeling for everything.”

And when he connected big after the break, he knew it was time to finish the job.

“I could see his legs start moving and his eyes went the other direction, so I knew, ‘OK, it’s time to get him.’”

Fortune’s latest victory pushes him one step closer to the sharp end of Bellator’s heavyweight division as the undefeated former wrestling standout continues to impress inside the Bellator cage.

And while he had previously expressed his frustration at being brought along slowly, Fortune is getting more comfortable with his slow-played developmental management by the Bellator matchmakers.

“I can beat everybody up on my way up,” he said. “Nobody’s a threat to me. I’m not worried. Everybody’s looking at me. They’re worried about what I’m about to do. So I’m in no rush.”

And if that slower path to the top means there’s room in his schedule to take on undefeated former heavyweight boxing champion Fury, he’d be more than happy to welcome Fury to the world of MMA.

“Fury talked to (UFC president) Dana White and he wanted to get into MMA, and Dana White said he didn’t want to take the fight,” he said. “So if (Bellator president) Scott Coker wants to sign Fury, I’d be willing to knock his ass out.”

And while some people may think the idea is a far-fetched one, Fortune has a different take.

“Do you see the matchups in Bellator?” he said. “Yeah, I see that and think it’s a realistic match. Michael “Venom” Page fought a guy who was 3-2 after Douglas Lima. Did that make any sense? I don’t think so.

“But yeah, Tyson Fury’s a name, he holds a heavyweight boxing title, so I think that makes a lot of sense, especially for an up-and-comer like me. Who wouldn’t want to see a fight like that?”